Project: What makes a document?

Exercise: Transparent pictures: On the nature of Photographic Realism, by Kendall L Walton

I’ve read through this several times now and I’m still not clear what Walton is saying. I think it is that we see the reality of the world through photographs. To me that is an acceptable notion but it does come down to the words you use and the interpretations you put on them. (Walton has used the academic’s trick of  making a simple notion over complex.) Also, this piece was written three decades ago. Since then, the number of photographs that we are presented with, the methods by which we view them and the sometimes necessary caution with which we view them, has had to change. Even during the most cursory study of the genre, the notion that the photograph is always objective truth is patent nonsense. Its realism results from the mechanical/electronic nature of its creation. How we interpret the photographer’s/editor’s intent and motivation in presenting us with each image, the context of that presentation, our  knowledge and prejudices, all combine to give us our own personal view of the world. The transparent photograph enables me to interpret the world and create a reality which is true to me.

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